East Coast Pro Wrestling (ECPW) set up its ring in Queens to do a battle for charity, with a special appearance by a former WWE superstar.
The battleground was set inside Elmhurst’s Brooklyn Queensborough Elks Lodge for a series of grappling matches on March 25. This event came exactly one week before WWE’s WrestleMania — the biggest event in wrestling. Chairs were set up, barricades were placed and fans cheered widely as they prepared for a hard-hitting show at 8220 Queens Blvd.
A portion of the proceeds went to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, a cause that is close to the heart of top ECPW grappler Bulldog of Brooklyn, Tony Biella.
“Tonight’s proceeds go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. They do amazing work for kids with cancer out in Memphis and across the whole country. I actually ran in the St. Jude’s half-marathon last year, so, to know that I’m getting in there tonight and getting beat up for charity, it makes it that much better,” Biella told QNS.
When not suplexing and clotheslining his foes in the ring, the Bulldog of Brooklyn has spent much of his career aiming to aid children suffering from illness.
After taking a hiatus from the squared circle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Biella made his triumphant return to wrestling in front of his children. However, it wasn’t just his children who were excited to see him. Fans of all ages roared as the Five Boroughs Champion climbed over the railing when challenged by one of the organization’s bad guys, Team Splendid.
This led to a brawl in a chaotic Battle Royal match in which Biella almost won until the dastardly duo pulled off some underhanded shenanigans that saw the returning champ choked on the ropes before being left unconscious in the middle of the ring.
This was but one moment from the stacked ECPW show, which is owned and operated by Gino Caruso. Also known as “Mr. Italy,” Caruso not only fought in bouts for WWE, WCW, ECW and more — he is also the promotion’s head trainer who helps mold talent into living their dream of fighting in front of live audiences. Caruso told QNS that he has an old-school philosophy when it comes to his shows. He wants it to be an entertaining, family friendly experience that puts bad guys to face-to-face with good guys.
“I don’t think you need to be over the top, you know, [with] language and gestures. You could still have a good product that the fans want to see where parents can bring their kids. The kids can have a good time — they don’t have to worry about going to see something [and hearing something] they should never hear,” Caruso said.
Caruso still laces up his boots every so often and joins in on the action, especially when it comes to helping a good cause. The shows also brings in famous stars from outside of ECPW, such as former WWE cruiserweight champion Enzo.
Enzo stepped into the ring with his infamous New York City pizzazz and “forgetaboutit” attitude.
“My name is Enzo, and I am a ‘Certified G’ and a bonafide stud and you can’t teach that. Bada Boom, realest guy in the room. How you doin?” Enzo said, reciting his legendary catch phrases while dancing in the ring.
Pointing at another wrestler, Enzo shouted, “There is only one word to describe you and I’ma spell it out for ya: ‘S.A.W.F.T, Saawwffttt.’”
After flipping his opponent onto the mat, Enzo posed for fans and signed autographs.
ECPW runs shows around the five boroughs and in New Jersey. Tickets can be purchased at ecpw1.com/head-trainer-gino-caruso.